I don't care who you are or where you come from. Dumplings are life! They take on different identities as one of the most versatile foods possible. And, multicultural as well! No matter what country you look up or visit, they have a version of dumplings available. This is also another one of those "like my Mother used to make" type foods. Whether on its own or as a side dish, dumplings just make everything amazing!
In Chinese New Year, the dumpling symbolizes fortune and prosperity in the new year. They closely resemble little money bags with the traditional fold. And with dumplings, there are multiple folding techniques to learn, and you can have so much fun making these. It is a very therapeutic process making dumplings!
Dumplings have multiple filling options, and is the most versatile food to make. One of the important elements about dumpling-making is not just folding/crimping techniques but that filling is definitely a key element to master. Having the right balance of ingredients, including sustaining moisture and creating that wonderful mouth-feel is what really makes a difference.
The how-to video can be found on my Youtube channel.
PLEASE NOTE: For those with little kids running around, you definitely do not want them in the kitchen during the pan-frying process.
1lb (453g) Ground pork (80/20) 1 C Cabbage, finely chopped
1/4 C Chicken stock 3 TB Garlic, finely minced 3 TB Ginger, finely minced 2 TB Shaoxing (or Soy/Tamari Sauce) 2 TB Sesame Oil 1 TB White pepper 1 TB Kosher salt (or MSG) 2 Scallions, chopped 1 Egg, large 50 Dumpling wrappers - or make your own dumpling dough with 200g AP flour with 100g hot water. Form a dough, roll out and use a round cutter for wrappers
Where we are creating a dumpling mixture, everything in the recipe that is added to the ground pork needs to be small.
Either with a gloved hand or a freshly washed hand, mix everything together by mashing the ingredients with your hands. Then, you will want to use a circular motion in mixing the dumpling filling. This can take a good five minutes to get this well-incorporated. If the ground pork continues to look like it was when it came out of the package, you are not done yet. Continue to mash this together by using circular motions with your hand.
Gather your equipment: a tray/pan lightly dusted with cornstarch, a cup/shot glass of water, a spoon, your dumpling mix, and the dumpling wrappers. Refer to the dumpling wrapper guide in the video for filling-placement. You do not want to use more than a tablespoon's worth of filling on the dumpling skin.
FOLDING DIRECTIONS: There is a diagram within the video on my Youtube channel that you can use as a reference point. For all three dumplings, you will place the dumpling mix in the middle. You will lightly wet the frame of the dumpling skin with water. This will moisten the cornstarch on the dumpling skin and help act like a "glue" for when you are forming the dumpling. Hold the dumpling similar to a "taco" in your hand. Pinch the top/middle of the dumpling wrapper together. With one hand, hold that pinched section. With the other hand, proceed with the videos on how to make all three dumplings.
COOKING TIMES: Cooking times are automatically going to vary. Whether you are using an electric, natural gas, propane range or even an induction, you cannot walk away while cooking the dumplings on the stove. Start with medium to med-high heat, add a few tablespoons of your oil and start placing the dumplings in the pan. Keeping them distanced will help avoid them from puffing and touching the other dumplings when you add the water for steaming. The first 3-5 minutes will involve browning the bottoms of the dumplings. Simply check the bottoms of the dumplings after a few minutes. Once they are showing browned bottoms, add approximately 1/2 C water and keep the lid on the pan to avoid steam burns and oil splatter. Keep the lid on for another five or so minutes or until the dumplings are done. Typically, the water will have evaporated by then. Turn off the heat but keep the lid on the pan and let it finish on its own. Serve your dumplings on a plate along with your favorite dipping sauce!
*SIDE BAR NOTES: Shaoxing: This is a Chinese cooking wine that is often primarily found in Asian markets. If this is not available locally, you may need to consider purchasing online or researching any stores in your demographic that might be able to order some for you. It is not imperative to have this but it does offer a wonderful flavor to the pork mixture. Without it, you can use either soy sauce or tamari. MSG: Monosodium Glutamate - this is available at both Asian markets and traditional grocery stores that have an Asian section for ingredients. MSG is not only already being manufactured in the human body, but it is also naturally occurring in things like tomatoes, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese. It is up to you if you want to use MSG or not. It has less sodium than standard salt, which is confirmed healthier, and offers an amazing umami flavor to Asian cuisine.
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